Filipino Food Movement at Paddy’s Night Markets

Jackie McMillan
2nd Apr 2023
Filipino cuisine is steadily growing in popularity in Sydney. It’s being helped along by the Filipino Food Movement who put on events at Paddy’s Markets in Flemington. Protected from the elements in an undercover multi-storey carpark alongside a car meet-up, the event was hugely popular with Filipino-Australians. A cloud of smoke hit us in the face well before we reached the stalls, where long queues began forming before the 6pm kick-off. Poor design and no crowd control measures made queuing and getting food a bit chaotic, but the heady aroma of charcoal barbeque ensured we persevered to sample inihaw: pork and chicken skewers ($6/each) from Wow Filipino Food. 
While my dining companion joined the long queue for Traditional Filipino Cuisine (TFC) with pork belly lechon ($30) and a great home-made dipping sauce and pork belly skewers ($5/each) on his mind, I loaded up on desserts. Ensaymada Etc make a wonderful eggy flan ($5/slice) heavily topped with cinnamon. They also do a classic ensaymada ($4.50) using cheddar cheese. To my palate, the better version of this soft bread roll topped with cream and cheese was made by Filautisserie where I tried purple-crowned ube cheese ($5) and savoury salted egg ensaymada ($5.50). They also make pandesal, slightly chewier breadcrumb-dusted bread rolls. I tried ube cheese ($3.80) which impressed with purple yam and a disc of creamy cheese. 
A lack of seating and overwhelming crowds saw us picnic on a traffic island. We struggled to eat sisig ($15) without the promised garlic rice because the TFC stall had already run out of it an hour into the market. It made the pork and chicken liver dish a bit intense, particularly without a squeeze of lemon. Vegetables and vegetarian dishes seemed underrepresented in this market showing, but I did enjoy crunchy green beans slid into a Filipino vegetable spring roll ($5). Now if crowded night markets aren’t your vibe, you can also eat Filipino cuisine in restaurants scattered across many Sydney suburbs. So far I have enjoyed meals at Let’s Chon (Sydenham), Pamana Filipino Restaurant (Chatswood), Sydney Cebu Lechon Native Filipino Eatery (Enmore), Descanso (Glebe), Filo Station (Croydon Park), Lazza (Marrickville) and Mama Lor (Rooty Hill). Takam in Darlinghurst is next on my hit list…